The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have expressed serious concerns over the impact on professional standards of proposed changes to the tax deductibility of education expenses. The Federal Treasury has recently released a discussion paper on the Federal Budget announcement of a $2000 cap on taxation deductions for work-related education expenses. This measure will apply to all work-related education expenses, including formal education courses, CPD activities, conferences, seminars, and any related travel, accommodation and home-office depreciation. In announcing the move the Government said it would welcome submissions on the issue. However, National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said he was concerned that the move may be seen in some quarters as a fait accompli, with little scope for significant changes to lessen the impact on professional learning.
“It seems somewhat strange that a Government which is espousing theimportance of education reforms is now moving to make lifelong learning less attractive to hard-working pharmacists who must spend a great deal of time and money to maintain their education and stay abreast of the latest developments in health and medicine,” Mr Kardachi said.
“Pharmacists are required to undertake education activities by law, not only to ensure the best health outcomes for the community but also to be eligible to continue to practise as pharmacists.The Government’s decision will potentially affect all pharmacists and will have a particularly negative impact on accredited pharmacists, rural pharmacists and early-career pharmacists.”
The National President of the Pharmacy Guild, Kos Sclavos said the Budget measure as it stood would have an adverse impact on the continuing professional development requirements of the pharmacy profession.
“In our sector, where travel and related costs to attend major industry events alone can exceed the proposed cap, it shows a clear misunderstanding of how pharmacy operates.
With the ever-changing health system and new advances in drug technology, government policy should be encouraging education opportunities for the benefit of our patients.”
Mr Sclavos and Mr Kardachi said the Pharmacy Guild and PSA would seek amendments to the proposal on behalf of the profession and in the interests of health care consumers. MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Waterman 0487 922 176 or Greg Turnbull 0412 910 261